Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Nope. Not what y'all are thinking, we'll let LDouglas explain -
THE LOVE TRIANGLE
I know I said it last week but now that I have your attention, I'll say it again. The environment, the food we eat, and our health are all connected. I was reminded of that this week when I received another action alert from Food and Water Watch. This time it's to ask the EPA to set a standard for the amount of perchlorates, (an ingredient in rocket fuel) allowed in our drinking water.
The EPA failed to set limits in September even though their own scientists recommended establishing limits. Officials went as far as deleting a reference to scientific studies showing a reduction in thyroid function in infants enough to cause a loss of IQ as well as an increase in behavioral and perception problems due to their effect. Studies are also suggesting that it is a carcinogen. Which maybe explains the two to fourfold increase in thyroid cancers since perchlorate interferes with the body’s ability to take up iodine and produce thyroid hormones.
In the environment it comes from fireworks, some fertilizers, and though it also occurs naturally, it mostly comes from military bases. And therein lies the problem of getting the EPA to establish a limit. They were pressured by the Pentagon not to regulate them. (The Washington Post reported it was because a nationwide cleanup could cost a lot of money and several defense contractors, the main source of contamination, threatened to sue the Defense Department to help pay for one if it's required.)
Our biggest source of contamination for the lagoon and our drinking water, if any, is most likely coming from Cape Canaveral and Patrick Air Force Base. I have to say "if any" because we don't know. When Patrick Air Force base was asked to check the groundwater for contamination they said no, not until the government requires it. And since the government hasn't established a limit, municipal water suppliers don't have to test for it either. Several states have established their own limits for perchlorates in drinking water but Florida isn't one of them. (I looked at the City of Vero Beach water quality summary and it wasn't listed.)
Even if there isn't any in our drinking water there's still a good possibility it’s in our lagoon, our food and our bodies. The FDA did a study and found it in three quarters of 285 commonly consumed foods and beverages.
In another study over 2,000 people were tested for it and it was found in all of them. It’s been found in drinking water in 35 states, including Florida. It's been found in breast milk at unsafe levels. It’s even been found where there were no suspected sources of contamination.
Since we can’t know for sure the amount in our food (for instance, lettuce samples from Belle Glade had levels of 1.3 ppb all the way to up to 73 ppb), establishing a limit in drinking water would be one of the best ways to protect us from surpassing what is “deemed safe” for us.
Now, I hope I didn't lead you on too badly with the love triangle title. It's just that I believe right now our food, our environment and our health is very much like a love triangle. Chemicals are sneaking into our water behind our back polluting us and our food, while our food is doing the same to our water and us. Meanwhile, the unsuspecting partner, our health, pays the price. It’s just not a very honest or good relationship.
On the other hand, since they all have a deep connection- our environment, our food and our health, a polyamory, would be just fine. A polyamory (from Greek poly, meaning many or several and Latin amor, literally “love”) is the practice of having more than one loving, intimate relationship at a time with the full knowledge and consent of everyone involved.
A much healthier relationship, wouldn't you say?
Here's the letter to the EPA if you'd like to sign on:
Here’s a letter to the editor of the PJ someone wrote last year about perchlorates. I had e-mailed him for a copy of the article but couldn’t find it when I wrote this. I did find his letter though through the magic of Google. He does a nice job of explaining just how bad perchlorates are for us and the creatures who live in the Indian River Lagoon. Here's a link: